Symphonies No. 4 & 5

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July 2020

Christian Daniel Friedrich Schubart heard a “perspective on a better world” in the key of B flat major. And to be sure the symphony No. 4 in B flat major, op. 60, by Ludwig van Beethoven appears to look with pleasure to the future. He wrote this
refined composition, orchestrated almost like chamber music, in 1806, between work on the monumental ‘Eroica’ and his symphony No. 5. Yet even in this delicate music the stormy sound occasionally emerges, already indicating the symphony still to come. This begins with the most famous four beats in music history. Even though the phrase “fate is thus knocking at the door” is not from Beethoven but from his biographer Schindler, these gloomy chords are inseparably associated with the idea of inescapable fate. Beethoven’s enthusiasm for the ideals of the French Revolution is undisputed, these songs allegedly also inspired the fifth symphony. The concert comes to an end with a facet of Beethoven that absolutely does not match the cliché of the furious revolutionary. ‘Ah! Perfido – Per pietà, non dirmi addio’ is Beethoven’s first setting of a scene from an Italian opera seria, whose closeness to Mozart cannot be overheard. Beethoven wrote it during his concert tour to Prague in 1796. In the same year the soprano Josepha Dussek first performed it in public in Leipzig. Jennifer Davis now follows in her footsteps; she also sings the role of Elsa in the production in Erl of Wagner’s Lohengrin. She is accompanied by the Tyrol Festival Erl Orchestra conducted by Erik Nielsen.

Program and cast

Orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl

Conductor: Erik Nielsen

Soprano: Jennifer Davis

Festspielhaus Erl



Designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Vienna, the extraordinary structure boasts 862 seats (130 of which are flexible seats near the orchestra) and the world’s largest orchestra pit (160-sq meters). The total useable surface is 7,000-square meter. General contractor was STRABAG, project manager Ing. Georg Höger.


The new Festspielhaus respects and compliments the architecture of the old Passionsspielhaus and its natural surroundings in a unique way: in the summer, when the Tyrolean Festival Erl or the Passion Plays take place at the white Passionsspielhaus, the dark Festspielhaus will blend with the dark forest, allowing the Passionsspielhaus to be dominant. In the winter it is the other way round: while the white Passionsspielhaus will fade into the surroundings, the dark Festspielhaus will stand out against the white landscape.


The Festspielhaus offers the modern infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the Passionsspielhaus, including a foyer with cloakroom, modern stage machinery, several rehearsal rooms and plenty of space for administrative offices. The Festspielhaus provides the Tyrolean Festival Erl with the basic conditions it needs to ensure the Festival’s success will continue into the future.




The Passionsspielhaus in Erl, built between 1957 and 159 on plans by architect Robert Schuller, is an architectural and acoustic masterpiece. The structure blends with its surroundings and is a visual extension of the adjoining mountains.
Thanks to its striking shape the Passionspielhaus instantly became Erl’s greatest landmark. Austria’s largest orchestra theater accommodates up to 1500 visitors. The 25-meter wide stage is tiered and provides a spectacular backdrop for the 500 passion play actors as well as the orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, which performs onstage as there is no orchestra pit. 


A café serving snacks and beverages was added in 1997 and an Art Room for 150 visitors was opened in 2003.  
When the Festspielhaus was renovated between October 2006 and April 2007 all sanitary facilities were upgraded; an “orchestra pit” with scissor lift and a substructure for the main stage were added; the auditorium got equipped with a deaf loop system and a new floor; the catwalk, the exterior design, the cellar beneath the donkey ramp, the refreshment stand, all electrical installations and the ventilation system were replaced; and the wardrobe and the stairway renovated.  






Germany, Eastern Austria
A8 Munich-Salzburg, Autobahndreieck Inntal, A 93, Motorway exit Nussdorf/Brannenburg or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf

Italy, Switzerland, Western Austria
Inntalautobahn A 12, motorway exit Kufstein Nord or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf; from Italy: after Brenner Pass take A 13 and A 12 (approx. 1 h 20 min to Erl); from the Swiss border it’s a 3 hour drive to Erl; the entire journey is on motorways and expressways.

In Austria, the use of motorways and expressways is subject to payment of a toll.

Munich – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Salzburg – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Innsbruck – Erl approx. 45 hour by car



All long distance and regional trains stop in Kufstein. 




Innsbruck (90 km),
Salzburg (90 km),
München (110 km).


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